Hosea 11-14 is our reading this week. God has made his case against Israel [Northern Kingdom]; The reason for the judgment on Israel is that they forgot God. The replaced Him with the pagan gods and instruments of “religion.” I believe that we are guilty of doing the same thing in our day. Mankind has to have tangible – physical things to hold on too. Yet our relationship with Jehovah is based on Faith – believing when we do not see the physical. The other reason for Israel to be judged is that they were unresponsive to the discipline of the Lord. I have learned that God does not let our sin go unchecked; just as a parent will try to restore proper behavior in a child, even so God desires to bring his people back. Whole the amount of discipline will change according to the situation and child, eventually if there isn’t a response and return, God must take drastic measures. In chapter 12, Yahweh brings memories to establish how He has cared for the Israelites. God birthed the nation from Abraham & Sarah; two people who were beyond reproducing years. From the impossible came God’s people. He birthed, raised and protected His people. His deliverance from Egypt was a memory that in the Old Testament was continually recounted. Israel, like many of us forget where we were and how far God has brought us. Israel and Judah forgot.
Israel is going to be the spoils of Assyria, as will Samaria. This did not have to be; but the rejection of God as god, forced the hand of God to act. The “Lost 10 tribes” of Israel even today is a stark reminder that God’s punishment was severe and everlasting. One would have thought that Judah [Southern Kingdom] would have taken notice of God’s judgment – but they didn’t. In fact other prophetic writing give indication, that Judah was okay with Israel getting “What they deserve.” Judah would say in essence “We are not like them!” Yet a mere 150 years later, Judah falls like Israel.
The fact that God uses a marriage illustration of Hosea and Gomer to show the “adulterous nation and people” is something we must take notice of today. While Israel was the “Bride” then; we are the Church and Bride now. What kind of Bride has the Church been? Ephesians 5:24-33 speaks clearly of what Christ desires out of the marriage; has the Church been faithful and content with Jesus? Is Jesus enough for us? Or do we seek after strange lovers? Could those lovers be Racism, Sub-humanism, relativism, hedonism, nationalism and individualism? Do we now live in the time of Judges 21:24, every man does that which is right in his own eyes? has the Church become an adulteress to Christ?
We live is a very dynamic changing culture; all throughout the globe mankind is living for self, survival and sensuality. While the idolatry and adulterous lifestyle then was regional, today we find the same thing is global. Today culture is driven by the whims and choices of “personal gods” not by the Word of God. Today there is the guise of “Tolerance”, yet intolerance is the course if another view doesn’t agree with “your” view. The unfaithful bride was purchased by Hosea, we the Bride of Christ have been purchased by Jesus at Calvary. God never stopped loving Israel, but because of His holiness and name, He had to judgment Israel. He cannot be God if He allows sin to continue. Jesus and His Bride the church is in similar situation. The Church is unfaithful, while it may be more subtle, drift and disobedience is happening now. Scripture reveals that the “Church” will be saved and will be at the marriage feast of the Bridegroom, oh that we would be that chaste bride, adorned in white; pure and untainted by the world we live.
The end of Hosea is our hope. Even though God had to judgment His people, it was not without hope of restoration. This is a message for the individual and the Church. All we like sheep have gone astray, each unto his own way; but God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all; and by His stripes we are healed. Judgment of sin has been done; now we must walk in the faith and hope of restoration of the new life that is ours in Christ.